The basic tasks carried out by the Eurosystem are as follows:

  • defining and implementing the euro area's monetary policy,
  • conducting foreign exchange operations,
  • holding and managing the official foreign reserves of the euro area countries,
  • promoting the smooth operation of payment systems.

The ECB has the exclusive right to approve the issuance of banknotes in the euro area. The ECB and the national central banks of euro area countries may issue such notes. The banknotes issued by the ECB and the national central banks are the only legal tender in these countries. Euro area countries may issue coins subject to the ECB's approval of the volume of the issue. The Eurosystem contributes to the smooth conduct of policies pursued by the competent authorities relating to the prudential supervision of banks and the stability of the financial system. In cooperation with the national central banks, the ECB also collects necessary statistical information. The ECB must also be consulted with regard to all proposed EU regulations and draft national regulations in fields under its jurisdiction.When adopting decisions and carrying out their tasks, the ECB and the national central banks are independent and may not seek or take instructions from EU institutions or bodies, from governments of Member States or from any other body. Likewise, the EU institutions and bodies and the governments of the Member States undertake to respect this principle and not to seek to influence the members of the decision-making bodies of the ECB or of the national central banks in the performance of their tasks.